GKids, a film distribution outfit best known for acquiring Japanese anime films for limited theatrical releases in North America has announced that they have acquired French director Jérémie Perin’s (CO2, Nini Patalo, Socks) Mars Express for release in domestic theaters in 2024.
While an exact release date was not announced, the film is set to be released in France next month, meaning a North American release can't be too far behind. GKids plans to release the film in French, with English subtitles. At this time, there doesn't appear to be any plans for an English-dub theatrical release.
In a press release, GKIDS president David Jesteadt stated, "Mars Express is a film we have been excited about for years since we saw the very first footage. This is a timely and provocative story set in one of the greatest animated sci-fi worlds I’ve seen, and we are thrilled to help bring it to North American audiences."
MK2 Films head of acquisition Oliver Barbier added, "MK2 Films is thrilled to initiate this collaboration with GKIDS, one of the best independent distributors for animation in North America. Mars Express couldn't dream of finding a better home and support from a team fully dedicated to art."
The film's aesthetic is described as cyber-punk neo-noir, blending traditional 2D and 3D animation techniques. The film generated a ton of buzz earlier this year at Cannes Film Festival in May and at the Annecy Film Festival in June. Just last week, Mars Express had its North American premiere in Los Angeles at Animation is Film Festival.
Through the various film festivals, Variety managed to view the film and wrote a glowing review: "Mars Express mixes mature themes with anime influences in a noirish sci-fi thriller. An uncommon spin on modern anxieties — particularly when it comes to AI. It serves a heady pop-culture cocktail, mixing hard-boiled fiction with science-fantasy comix, riffing on Philip Marlow and Philip K. Dick (with winks to Watchmen and Robocop and oh so many more) with a mystery yarn that places humans and cyborgs on equal footing."
First Showing also viewed the film early and had nothing but positive things to say: "An incredible animated sci-fi creation. Mars Express is like a French update on the iconic Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell. Phenomenal geeky world building and intricacy."
The official synopsis for the project reads, "Set in 2200, private detective Aline Ruby and her android partner are hired by a wealthy businessman to track down a notorious hacker. On Mars, they descend deep into the underbelly of the planet’s capital city where they uncover a darker story of brain farms, corruption, and a missing girl who holds a secret about the robots that threaten to change the face of the universe."